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On March 22, 2023, the 29th ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat took place in Magellan, Indonesia, with the participation of the ASEAN Secretary General, Minister Economy of ASEAN countries and Timor Leste (first time attending as an observer). The Vietnamese delegation attending the Conference includes representatives of the Ministries of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.
At the Conference, Ministers of ASEAN countries approved 07 initiatives to prioritize Indonesia's economic cooperation in the 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship year, focusing on 03 main directions: (i) Recovery and Reconstruction: Rebuilding regional growth through market connectivity and enhanced competitiveness (ii) Digital Economy: Accelerating transformation and inclusive digital economic participation, and (iii) Sustainability: Promoting sustainable economic growth for a resilient future. The conference also agreed on annual priorities for 2023 in the economic channel, focusing on the following areas: trade in goods, trade in services, investment, and facilitation of movement of skilled workers and business customers, competition, consumer protection, intellectual property, e-commerce; micro, small and medium enterprises, etc.
The Ministers noted the progress of negotiations on upgrading the Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), and the implementation of research on the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) towards launching negotiations on this Agreement in September 2023, recommendations of the ASEAN High-Level Task Force on Economic Integration to promote regional economic integration as well as positive results in the implementation of the Master Plan for Building a Economic Community. ASEAN economy in 2025, whereby ASEAN has become the 4th largest trading partner in the world with a total trade turnover of 3.34 trillion USD. The Ministers agreed to allocate resources to promote and basically complete negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) according to the set roadmap.
Regarding external ASEAN economic cooperation, the Ministers discussed priority directions in ASEAN trade negotiations and the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), focusing on the The goal of establishing the RCEP Agreement Implementation Support Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat in 2023 and accelerating discussions to build a process to join the RCEP Agreement.
At the Conference, the Ministers also listened to a report on Timor Leste's accession to ASEAN and had a consultation session with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to discuss the Council's recommendations in various fields. areas such as digital transformation, sustainable development, food security, health resilience and trade and investment facilitation to promote trade, strengthen regional supply chains and promote economic recovery. economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the Conference, Vietnam expressed support for Indonesia's priority economic cooperation initiatives in the 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship year, and affirmed that Vietnam will continue to close cooperation with other ASEAN countries to implement common goals of the ASEAN Economic Community. Vietnam also emphasized the need for ASEAN countries to promote intra-ASEAN economic integration by prioritizing negotiations to upgrade the ATIGA Agreement to ensure that, after being upgraded, this agreement is modern, looking towards the future and responding to new regional and global situations./.